Midwestern American Rockers, Shaman’s Harvest announces the release of their sixth album the July 28th ‘Red Hands Black Deeds’
Their 6th studio album sees Shaman’s Harvest move into new territory. Sonically, there’s an emphasis on using organic sounds and analog vintage gear. Thematically, the band tackles the current political, social, and economic struggles the USA is facing as a nation under the new administration. Written during the 2016 presidential election cycle, there is a is a darker, visceral, and more layered sound permeating throughout.
Shaman’s Harvest began writing their new album Red Hands Black Deeds in November 2016 at the time of the US presidential election, so it’s no wonder there are social and political undertones to many of the songs. “The tension in the record kind of speaks for itself. There’s a dark anxiety, tension-filled feeling that reflects what’s going on in the world,” says rhythm guitarist Josh Hamler.
Lyrically, the band ventured into new territory, taking on the current political, social, and economic struggles the USA is facing as a nation under the new administration. “Red Hands Black Deeds touches upon the darker nature inside all of us,” says singer Nathan Hunt. “The whole record has a contrast and push and pull tension – a juxtaposition of good and bad or questioning what is right and wrong. The record ended up having a concept, though we weren’t intending it to.”
Sonically – the band also moved in new directions with the assistance of producer Keith Armstrong. The use of organic sounds, as well as vintage analog gear, is a huge step for the band — which includes singer Hunt, rhythm guitarist Hamler, bassist Matt Fisher, lead guitarist Derrick Shipp, & drummer Adam Zemanek. “We didn’t want to use anything digital. So to get certain effects, we made stuff. For instance, we used an old rotary telephone implanted into microphones for the outro of “Scavengers.” Keith helped us think outside the box,” says Fisher.
Adds Hamler, “We had been so stuck in our way of writing and recording, but Keith had a different, more interesting approach to coming up with that sound. He really helped us find a fresh new creative path.”
It’s no happenstance that the band was drawn to Armstrong to produce. Known for his treasure trove of analog and vintage gear, Shaman’s Harvest decidedly wanted a more organic, analog sound for their sixth record. Hunt comments, “This is the first record that we went with this approach. It was kind of like trying to find the melting point between Midwest and L.A. It still has the Shaman’s Harvest Midwest vibe to it, but it definitely has organic L.A. written all over it.”
The result is a darker, visceral, and more layered sound, ranging from the ominous, haunting vibes of the title track prelude, “A Longer View,” “The Devil In Our Wake,” and “Scavengers” – which could fit just as easily on a horror film soundtrack as it does on this rock band’s album – to quieter, more vulnerable moments as heard on “Tusk and Bone” and “Long Way Home.”
Born in Jefferson City, Missouri, Shaman’s Harvest released their first album, Last Call for Goose Creek in 1999, followed by Synergy (2002) and March of the Bastards (2006) before having their break-through moment with 2009’s Shine. Shine featured the standout track, “Dragonfly,” which hit #9 on Billboard’s Heritage Rock chart and #15 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. It was also featured on the soundtrack to the major motion picture, Legendary, and the video has garnered more than 4.5 million YouTube views.
The band followed that success with their Mascot Records debut, Smokin’ Hearts & Broken Guns in 2014, which has garnered more than 31 million streams. The album’s “In Chains” peaked at #11 on the Media Base chart after a run of 22 weeks at Active Rock radio. It also spent over four months in the Top 10 of iTunes Metal Songs Chart. The song’s video has more than 3 million views on YouTube, while the band has a cumulative 8 million YouTube views.
Shaman’s Harvest has had equal success on the touring front. They’ve toured or shared the stage with major artists like AC/DC, Alice In Chains, Godsmack, Breaking Benjamin, Seether, Nickelback, Three Doors Down, In This Moment, Daughtry, Cheap Trick, Theory of a Deadman, Hinder, and others, and played major festivals like Rocklahoma, Rock on the Range, Rock Fest, KRockathon, Rockin’ The Rivers, Texas Mutiny, Rock Carnival 2016, High Elevation Rock Festival, and Midwest Rock Fest.
The key to the band’s longevity is threefold: Staying in Missouri, which gives the band a Midwestern authenticity. “Our music wouldn’t be what it is if we weren’t from a hillbilly kind of a state,” notes Fisher. Second, knowing the gift of distance and being open to change. “It’s been 21 years for us,” Fisher continues, “so it’s a brotherhood and there are fights, but I think overall it’s just
keeping some distance in between tours when we need it.” And, third: “Growing musically as a band each time. I think this record, with how differently we approached it and how we
expanded our sonic palette, is a good step toward a new future for us,” adds Fisher.